Disappointment or Cruel Optimism?
Before arrival, the partners of international students envisioned Britain to be a land of plenty with plenty of work, plenty of cultural diversity and plenty of networks. Later they arrived in a Northern English university town with a predominately white British population. Work is hard to find – especially for temporary migrants – and feelings of isolation and loneliness are daily companions.
In this paper I discuss how instead of allowing feelings of disappointment to determine their well-being, the families of international students in this study focus on their homemaking and apply cruel optimism, which names a relation of attachment to compromised conditions of possibility, to create what I call an intimate diasporic space in the home. I highlight how they use emotional domestic labour to create such a space, and how they envision their actions to be beneficial for their future careers.